Do you miss the luxury of being waited on hand and foot in the various hotels you’ve been to?You needn’t, any longer. Ruth Dsouza Prabhu writes about branded homes, where one can experience the luxury of a hotel at home.
Bangalore has always been open to new ideas and real estate is one sector that constantly sees a lot of fresh ideas. Branded residences are among the latest of trends. These are targeted at a niche group.
Developing residences with an extremely high-end brand identity is what forms the basis of this concept. It could be in terms of a celebrity designer, an iconic furnishing brand or even a top class hospitality venture.
What is it?
Vinay Kapoor, Founder and CEO, Westcourt explains that the direct implication of a branded home would be that it is of high quality. When you speak of a branded home, you need to understand what the brand implies. “In the context of our project, Cityview which is a branded residence in association with the Four Seasons hotel, it will mean access to high quality service. You will have access to excellent and trained staff, access to room service and every conceivable amenity that is associated with a high end hospitality sector,” he says.
Of course these homes are niche. Though Bangalore may not be as large an industrial hub as say Mumbai or Delhi, it is definitely much more cosmopolitan in nature. Numerous people pass through the City contributing to its popularity on an international scale. The concept of such urban living needs to have a presence in central hubs and compared to Delhi, Bangalore provides a better base for the development of such homes.
Vinay feels that branded homes are largely targeted at those people who are short on time and do not really want to spend time dealing with the day-to-day hassles of home management. These homes can also work for those people who may be based in other cities but have to travel here frequently on work. An international trend, it is something that India needs at present.
Anuj Puri, Chairman & Country Head, Jones Lang LaSalle India says, “Branded residences are an emerging concept in luxury housing wherein developers tie up with international luxury hospitality or lifestyle brands. Since the market for super-luxury housing in India itself does not represent more than five per cent of the overall residential market in the country, branded residences do not account for a large market segment. Rather, it is geared towards that segment of India’s super-rich that prefer the conveniences and status value of luxury homes designed, marketed and often managed by global hospitality or signature designer brands. The USP these residences offer are extremely evolved amenities and facilities, the status value of a designer brand address and, in some cases, superior project management.”
Vinay feels that being a niche product, owning a home like this is not about affordability but about wanting a particular kind of lifestyle. Though a building of this nature can be repeated, the concept itself, when associated with a particular hospitality venture cannot be. Based on this, such projects are independent of market fluctuations. A branded residence is of course a luxury product, but as is natural, one would want to know what more they can get out of it.
Anuj Puri says, “Branded residence projects tend to come up in high-value locations, so the value dynamic of such locations is definitely locked in. It should be kept in mind that many of these locations have saturated in terms of appreciation potential, since there is often no potential for new market drivers such as infrastructure or large retail establishments to come in. That said, another level of appreciation is derived from the sheer status value of such a home. This value has little to do with normal market appreciation dynamics, and more to do with the implied aspirational quotient. It is nevertheless a very real force.” As a prospective buyer, one would also want to know if they will be given the freedom to customise some aspects of the home considering certain standards have to be maintained. Vinay says that for such projects, only a small amount of customisation that can be allowed and this is primarily in the softer aspects of construction such as the colour palette, the choice of stone, art work, furniture options, etc. Such customisation will be entertained as long as it is made clear well in advance and does not affect construction and completion commitments. It will also ensure that the once occupancy begins, no one is disturbed by the customisation.
Branded homes are not only defined by the quality of the construction, design and decor, but by the service that forms a part of the whole set up. As a home owner, you get the best of quality and the luxury of being waited on, hand and foot in your own space.